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Top Wines: 2024 New Wine Festival (Mtatsminda) & Artisan Wine Fair Wyndam Grand Tbilisi Review

The New Wine Festival (May 11th 2024) in Mtatsminda park is the biggest single day wine festival in Tbilisi. Over 200 producers were represented. I managed to taste 75 wines from 34 producers.

Artisan Wine Fair at Wyndam Grand (on May 8th 2024) was a small curated tasting event which featured maybe 40 producers. I managed to taste 59 wines from 20 producers.

So, a total of 134 wines, from 54 producers over 2 days.

The majority were rated “good” or “acceptable”. And by this, I mean wines that we can objectively say to have merit, and some enjoyable characteristics that make them successful.

I should be clear, that “good” really is pretty decent. These are wines you’d enjoy drinking. Getting a higher rating than “good” means producing a wine that stands out against all other wines tasted, with better balance and relevant characteristics. “Acceptable” being an everyday wine that is fine but you won’t be getting excited about.

Not too many wines were rated “poor” or “faulty”. These are wines that would not be recommended at all (poor wines) or had suffered from wine faults such as volatile acidity, TCA (cork taint), volatile sulfur compounds, etc. at a level to make the wines unpalatable.

Though we try to be as objective as possible in these assessments, some things should be taken into account:

  • Blind tasting was not possible, so small biases may exist inadvertently.
  • I do often tell producers to “show me the best 2 wines” or something similar, so I am probably getting a better experience than someone who just says “saperavi, please”.
  • The tasting environment of a busy outdoor festival is not ideal and some factors affect the tasting:
    • Environmental odors – from people walking around with coffee to strong perfume etc. In addition, surrounded by trees, BBQ (mtsvadi) smoke often billowing past. It is more challenging than most festivals.
    • Full rinsing of glasses between every tasting was impractical, though we tried as best as possible.

We only tasted a fraction of what was on offer. It’s a lot of producers for a single day all in one area! A few winemakers were at both festivals.

We did not taste every wine from each vendor we tried.

So, we definitely will have missed some excellent wines. But from what we did taste, we hope you will enjoy discovering some of the below which we gave upper category ratings.

Ratings are based on Balance / Length / Intensity / Complexity and Style (ie. how they fit within the category of the style/intention of the wine). A “very good” rating would be made when 3 to 4 of these criteria have been met successfully. Some consideration is given to young wines that have the potential to arrive at this level in an expected timeframe of aging.

There are many more wine festivals coming soon, and we intend to publish our favorites for those too. Check out reviews from Zero Compromise (9th/10th May 2024) which happened the same week. With 3 days of wine expo coming up June 2024, there will be lots more wines to discover!

New Wine Festival, Mtatsminda Park, Tbilisi (Sat 11th May, 2024)

75 wines from 34 wineries tasted.

In order of which i did the tastings, not in order of preference. 

Most wines below achieved “very good” or better. But I’ve also Included a few that were on the cusp from good to very good and also deserved a mention. My “personal top picks” are wines I felt were the best, but also wines I personally liked to my preferred taste.

  1. Zodi Winery (Imereti) – Tsolikouri 2023 (dry, qvevri, 10% skins)
  2. Sagharadze (Racha) – Saperavi (80%) / Saperavi Budeshuri (20%) 2023 (Grapes grown in Kakheti though.
  3. Sister’s Wine (Kakheti) – Mtsvane 2023 (dry, qvevri)
  4. Bostogana (Kakheti) – Saperavi 2022 (dry)
  5. Narashvili (Kakheti)
    1. Kisi 2022 (dry, qvevri)
    2. Budeshuri 2022 (dry) – Personal Top Pick
  6. Togonidze (Kakheti)
    1. Mtsvane 2016 (dry, qvevri)
    2. Saperavi 2022 (semi-dry) – Personal Top Pick
  7. Lavina (Kartli) – Tavkveri 2023 (dry, qvevri)
  8. Vivre (Shida Kartli) – Chinuri (50% / Goruli Mtsvane (50%) Pet-Nat 2023 (semi-dry)
  9. Baaduri (Imereti) – Kvishkuri 2022 (dry, euro) – rare grape, interesting but needs a bit more development still for future vintages. For enthusiasts looking for rarities, have a try!
  10. Shalos (Bolnisi) – Alexandrouli (60%) / Mujeretuli (40%) 2023 (dry) – Very young but a lot of potential once aged, already a fun wine though. These Racha grapes are grown in Bolnisi in this case.
  11. Zangaura (Kakheti)
    1. Gviani Blend 2022 (dry, carbonic, 1 month skins) – Personal Top Pick – Blend of 27 grape varieties from all over Georgia, but planted/harvested in Kakheti at Zangaura’s own vineyard.
    2. Saperavi 2018 (dry)
  12. Napheri (Shida Kartli / Kakheti) – Mtsvane 2022 (dry)
  13. Agidela (Shida Kartli)
    1. Goruli Mtsvane 2023 (dry, Euro)
    2. Sauvignon Blanc 2023 (dry, Euro) – Personal Top Pick
  14. Kardenakhi 1888 (Kakheti)
    1. Mtsvane 2022 (dry, qvevri)
    2. Tsarapi 2020 (dry, qvevri)
    3. Muscat 2021 (dry, Euro)
  15. Mosavali (Shida Kartli) – Saperavi Fortified 2017 (semi-sweet, qvevri, then port method)
  16. Baia’s Wines (Imereti) – Tsolikouri 2023 (dry, qvevri)

22 wines, from 16 wineries in the upper category!

Artisan Wine Fair Wyndam Grand Tbilisi (Wed 8th May, 2024)

59 wines from 20 wineries tasted.

In order of which i did the tastings, not in order of preference. 

Most wines below achieved “very good” or better. But I’ve also Included a few that were on the cusp from good to very good and also deserved a mention.

  1. Solomone (Imereti)
    1. Tsitska / Tsolikouri 2022 (dry, Euro)
    2. Dzelshavi Qvevri 2022 (dry)
  2. Anbani – Saperavi 2021 (dry, Euro 20 day skins)
  3. Lamiskana – Mukhumtsvane 2023 (dry, 5 months oak) – Personal Top Pick
  4. Winery Pi – Saperavi 2022 (dry, Euro)
  5. Meltioni – Rkatsiteli Bolnisi 2023 (dry, Euro)
  6. Ia’s Winery
    1. Rkatsiteli / Mtsvane 2023 (dry, qvevri)
    2. Saperavi 2023 (dry, qvevri)
  7. Kardenakhi Estate – Rkatsiteli 2021 (dry, qvevri)
  8. Shalos – Rkatsiteli 2020
  9. Mukhiguli – Rkatsiteli 2022 (dry, Euro, 1 year oak)
  10. Sanavardo Estate – White Napareuli (Rkatsiteli 90% Mtsvane 10%) 2021 (dry, Euro)
  11. Nikoladze – Tsolikouri on Otskhanuri Sapere Skins 2022 (dry)
  12. Bagineti – Shavkapito 2023 (dry, qvevri, 2 months oak)
  13. Supra Wines – Saperavi 2017 Reserve (dry, euro, oak)
  14. Satrfo
    1. Kisi (60%) / Khikhvi (40%) Pet-Nat 2023 (dry)
    2. Rkatsiteli (90%) / Saperavi (10%) Pet-Nat 2023 (dry)
  15. Lokokina – Krakhuna (70%) / Tsitska (30%) Pet-Nat 2023
  16. Sarishvili Winery (Guria) – Chkaveri 2022 (dry)

19 wines, from 16 wineries in the upper category! We’ll be back with a longer list when we hope to have better weather and a lot more time at Wine Expo in early June.

Thanks to The Amazing Winemakers!

TOTAL: 41 Wines from 31 wineries in the upper category across the 2 days.

Congratulations to all the amazing wineries that made it into our upper category ratings. As well as all the other amazing winemakers who continue to make the Georgian wines scene one of the most interesting in the world!

 Georgian Wine Crash Course & Tasting Cheat Sheet / Guide
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About the author

Pro food & drink travel writer, photographer & podcaster since 2013. WSET2 (distinction). Georgian Sommelier (In Progress). 200+ wineries visited in Georgia. Many 1000's of natural/qvevri wines tasted since 2016. Tommo & his wife have now visited 95+ countries in search of food and wine. They decided to make Georgia (Country) their home base in 2019 and establish Eat This! Food & Wine Tours.

Rtveli: Wine Harvest Tours

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